Fine dining airside is finally taking off. Thanks to a growing number of Michelin-starred chefs launching airport restaurants, jet-setting gastronomes can now travel stress-free by arriving early at Newark Liberty for roasted bone marrow and cocoa salt at Alain Ducasse’s Saison. Frequent flyers can plan their European connections around Heston Blumenthal’s liquid nitrogen ice cream parlour. And Côte d'Azur vacationers can enjoy a few extra hours of indulgence with lunch at the forthcoming L’Estivale, a Mediterranean bistro from two-Michelin-Star Italo-Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco at the Nice airport, opening in June, 2017.
While the past decade has seen an increase in star-studded chefs signing their names to first class menus on the flights themselves, the in-airport options have lagged behind. The last five years have seen a stream of impressive openings from Michelin star chefs in major travel hubs including Barcelona, Singapore and Los Angeles: fine dining on-the-fly has never been so delicious.
Courtesy of Afroditi Krassa © Sim Canetty-Clark
Located in Heathrow’s Terminal 2, the restaurant takes inspiration from the chef’s popular British tv show In Search of Perfection. Each menu item, from upscale burgers to thin-crust pizza, has been tried and tested until it reached the ultimate version of itself.
The fish & chips owes its crisp exterior and juicy interior to a siphon-aerated beer batter. Instead of a bottle of malt vinegar, an atomizer served with the dish lets you add a spritz of vaporized malt vinegar pickled onion juice.
Gas ovens aren’t allowed in the airport, but fortunately wood-fired ovens got past security – which means that any pizza kissed with fior di latte, burrata or pecorino cheese will be spot-on.
Leave room for dessert, though; the dense, creamy and smooth liquid nitrogen ice cream comes with hazelnut and salted caramel. There’s even dairy-free blackcurrant sorbet and sundaes with toppings that include popping candy, marshmallows and white chocolate pearls. Or try indulging in the famous BFG (Black Forest Gateau) with layers of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, sour cherry compote, chocolate brownie, Kirsch-infused whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Photos by Derek Hudson
Hall L of terminal 2E at Paris-Charles de Gaulle is where travelers know to head for impeccable French cuisine at Guy Martin’s I Love Paris restaurant using organic and seasonal products. Chef Martin’s ode to the “City of Light” won first prize in the 2016 FAB awards for “Airport Chef-Led/Fine Dining of the Year.”
Yellow curtains are pulled back to reveal a spacious dining area with a vaulted ceiling. Circles of lamps dangle in rings above the high-top, wrap-around bar. The overall effect of the décor is one of welcome luxury after a long flight, where a glass of quality Champagne is just waiting to be poured for thirsty travelers.
French cuisine is an inviting cuisine and that’s the welcoming feeling that Martin says he wants to recreate at I Love Paris. The food itself not only based in French tradition but on travels around the world via spices and rhizomes.
You also won’t have to worry about flagging down servers thanks to the iPad menus. And your supreme de volaille, juicy burgers with salt-dusted and savoury frites, foie gras, and tender, roasted monkfish will come in plenty of time for you to enjoy a glass of Beaujolais or Sancerre with dinner – and maybe even a cheese course and a digestif before your flight.
Dining at Newark Liberty International Airport has never been better, thanks in no small part to Alain Ducasse’s upscale French bistro fare at Saison. The restaurant’s lauded chef has a total of 19 Michelin Stars, including the three-Michelin-Star Plaza Athénée in Paris, France and Le Louis-XV-Alain Ducasse in Monaco.
The Newark Airport location is no exception to Ducasse’s reputation for quality; beef tartare is prepared tableside, croque-monsieur and jambon-beurre sandwiches are refined comfort, and the rich broth of the French onion soup will transport you to France – no matter what your travel destination.
More local fare includes the Maine peekytoe crab and lobster cocktails. The iPad menus show you the price of your meal in dollars and in airline points. They also explain the origins of the duck breast and air-chilled roasted chicken, the former a naturally raised Long Island native.
The hanger steak and ribeye come from further afield but arrive perfectly seared from the charcoal grill. Locavores can stick to the 12 oz. New York strip steak. And unlike most restaurants from Michelin-Star chefs, breakfast is also an option, with options including waffles, bacon and eggs and rashers of some of the best bacon you’ll find in an airport.
Sweet & Spicy Wings
Asia and the Middle East have been slower to add Michelin Star fare to their airport offerings, but with The Kitchen, chef Wolfgang Puck has brought his empire to Dubai. With it comes a menu of comfort foods and a cozy atmosphere.
Dark wooden beams line the ceiling, contrasting with the marble bar, which gives the space the feel of a luxury après ski cottage in the Swiss Alps. Order the classic WP burger with caramelized onions and cheddar, or remind yourself of where you really are by indulging in the lamb meatballs with harissa aioli, labneh pizzas with feta and za’atar and a mezze plate with hummus, tabbouleh and olives.